She hasn’t even started her new “Dancing With the Stars” judging gig, but Julianne Hough is already raising some eyebrows. The “DWTS” alum will join veteran judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli for the 19th season of the celebrity ballroom competition, but one pro dancer says it’s not entirely fair that Hough is on the panel, considering her brother, Derek Hough, is a longtime competitor on the show.
On Friday, Karina Smirnnoff told Us Weekly, "I think [Julianne] is a great girl, I've known her for many years. I think that she is wonderful, gorgeous, and talented, but I don't know if it's ethical that she is judging while her brother is competing."
Smirnoff added, "I may be the most fair person in the world, but if my mom is dancing and she trips, I would be like, 'Well, I didn't see that…That is my mother, and I will go stand by her side and support her regardless. Do I think it's fair? No. But it is a TV show. That is what we have to remember. It's not necessarily the Bible, it's just a TV show."
Derek Hough doesn’t exactly need his sister’s help to win the “Dancing With the Stars” mirrorball trophy – he has already won the ABC dancing competition five times— but Julianne’s presence on the panel has ruffled some feathers in the past.
When the “Rock of Ages” actress stopped in for a guest judging gig last year, pro dancer Mark Ballas said her comments about his performance were hypocritical. Ballas told Us Weekly that Julianne should have been focused on his partner, Christina Milian, and not on him. That same season, contestant Corbin Bleu expressed concern over “nepotism” with two Houghs on the show.
And Smirnoff also had issues with the situation back then. She told Entertainment Weekly, “In the professional ballroom world you are not allowed to judge any competition if you have any family members in the competition. But hey, it’s a TV show!”
The first time Julianne had to critique her brother’s performance with “Glee” star Amber Riley, she admitted that she was secretly hoping something would go wrong so she could give them a horrible score. But alas, her Emmy winning brother is just too good at his job.
After the show, Derek told E! News he understood what his sister meant about hoping something would go wrong with his dance, “so that she wouldn't seem biased.” But he also acknowledged that his kid sis would take plenty of pleasure in giving him a low score if he deserved one.
The new season of “Dancing With the Stars” premieres Monday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. on ABC.